When it comes to evaluating artwork, men seem to focus more on the artist’s background and authenticity while women pay more attention to the art itself. The sexes show stark differences in how they evaluate art, finds a new study, suggesting that busing a brand to average consumers when they appraise art is key for an artist’s success. “All consumers in the study, but especially men, evaluated art with a strong emphasis on how motivated and passionate the artist was,” said Stephanie Mangus, assistant professor at Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business.

“So if you are an artist or if you are managing an artist, developing that human brand – getting the message across that you are authentic – becomes essential,” he asserted. Mangus and her colleagues had 518 people look at two unfamiliar paintings with made-up biographies of the artist. Some participants read a bio that characterised the artist as authentic – in other words, a lifelong painter who creates unique work.

Others read a bio that characterised the artist as an ordinary painter who took up the craft only recently. When the artist was characterised as authentic, participants had a much more favourable impression of both the artist and the artwork. “Participants indicated they were more willing to buy that artist’s painting and to pay a higher price for it,” Mangus noted. Men were much more likely to use the artist’s brand as a deciding factor when evaluating art.

Women also took the artist’s authenticity into account but a bigger factor for them was the artwork itself. “Women are more willing to go through a complicated process of actually evaluating the artwork whereas men may say, ‘This guy is a great artist so I will buy his art’,” Mangus added, Knowing that the artist’s brand plays a major role in consumers’ evaluation may help art dealers better set their prices. The findings can also help consumers make decisions on which art they buy.

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